J. Morgan Varner

Contact Info


Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest Research Station
USDA Forest Service
400 North 34th street, Suite 201,
Seattle, Washington 98103, USA

Publications in Fire Ecology

Acute Physiological Stress and Mortality Following Fire in a Long-Unburned Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
Pages: 1-12
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602001

One important legacy of fire exclusion in ecosystems dependent upon frequent fire is the development of organic soil horizons (forest floor) that can be colonized by fine roots. When fire is re-introduced, the forest floor is often consumed by fire and heavy overstory mortality, often delayed by months, results. We hypothesized that the delayed post-fire tree mortality is a manifestation of a cascade of physiological stresses initiated by root damage that can also magnify the impact of other kinds of damage. We investigated the physiological impact of forest floor consumption on longleaf pines (Pinus palustris Mill.) subjected to a wildfire in 2005 in a long-unburned (> 50 years) forest by measuring forest floor consumption, whole tree water use, and leaf chlorophyll content.  [Read More]

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The Effects of Conifer Encroachment and Overstory Structure on Fuels and Fire in an Oak Woodland Landscape
Pages: 32-50
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0702032

The role of fire in the maintenance of oak-dominated ecosystems is widely recognized. Fire exclusion results in structural and compositional shifts that alter fuelbed composition and structure, together influencing fire behavior and effects. To clarify the influence of overstory structure on fuels and fire intensity in oak woodlands and savannas, we examined fuelbeds across a gradient from open grassland to Douglas-fir- (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco) invaded Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana Douglas ex Hook.) woodland in the Bald Hills of Redwood National Park, California, USA.  [Read More]

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Seed Viability and Fire-Related Temperature Treatments in Serotinous California Native Hesperocyparis Species
Pages: 107-124
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0802107

Fire-prone serotinous California Hesperocyparis L. (cypress) have been experiencing low seedling recruitment, underscoring our need to better understand these species’ responses to fire. We investigated the specific heating conditions required to break cone serotiny and to promote seed dispersal by focusing on five Hesperocyparis species of interior California: Hesperocyparis nevadensis (Abrams) Bartel, Paiute cypress; H. bakeri (Jeps.) Bartel, Baker cypress (also known as Modoc cypress); H. forbesii Jeps. Bartel, tecate cypress; H. macnabiana (A. Murray bis) Bartel, McNab’s cypress; and H. sargentii (Jeps.) Bartel (Sargent’s cypress).  [Read More]

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Foliar Consumption Across a Sudden Oak Death Chronosequence in Laboratory Fires
Pages: 33-44
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0903033

The recent introduction and spread of sudden oak death (SOD; caused by Phytopthora ramorum) has caused heavy mortality in native tanoak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus [Hook. & Arn.] Manos et al. = Lithocarpus densiflorus [Hook. & Arn.] Rehder) forests in California and Oregon, USA.

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Fuel Moisture Differences in a Mixed Native and Non-Native Grassland: Implications for Fire Regimes
Pages: 73-87
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.1201073

Non-native plants have far-reaching effects on many terrestrial ecosystems.  There are several examples of non-native species altering fire regimes, either by increasing or decreasing the potential intensity and severity of fires.  To investigate this phenomenon, we sampled fuel moisture content of four native grass species (Festuca californica Vasey, Danthonia californica Bol., Elymus glaucus Buckley, and Bromus carinatus Hook. & Arn.) and four non-native grass species (Phalaris aquatica L., Cynosurus echinatus L., Arrhenatherum elatius [L.] J. Presl & C. Presl, and Anthoxanthum odoratum L.) in northern California grasslands across the 2012 growing season.  [Read More]

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Suites of Fire-Adapted Traits of Oaks in the Southeastern USA: Multiple Strategies for Persistence
Pages: 48-64
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.1202048

Fire is integral to the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems of the southeastern USA and is a strong selective force on plant species.  Among woody plants, oak species (Quercus spp. L) have diverse life history traits that appear to reflect their evolution in this fire-prone region.  Oaks also occur across wide gradients of fire frequency and intensity, from annually burned savannas to fire-protected forests.  [Read More]

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Fire in Eastern North American Oak Ecosystems: Filling the Gaps
Pages: 1-6
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.1202001

This special issue of Fire Ecology is focused on the fire ecology of eastern USA oak (Quercus L.) forests, woodlands, and savannas.  The papers were presented as part of the Fifth Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA, in 2015.  The topic of fire in Eastern oak ecosystems is one that has received insufficient interest from the broader fire ecology community.   [Read More]

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